My fiancé is leaving at the end of the month for a job and we will not be together for seven months. SEVEN MONTHS. Now I will the first to admit that I am a huge baby about long distance and that I most definitely have my fair share of abandonment issues (more on this later… maybe… if I’m in a sharing mood), but I feel like this amount of time is excessive for even the most normal people. And we are separated for the most exciting/boring adult thing ever: we both got really cool jobs, they’re just on opposite sides of the country. When I say opposite, I mean opposite. He will be in central Florida, where as I on the other hand will be in Hawaii. That’s over 4,000 miles people! I will admit I took the Hawaii job first, and in reality it doesn’t matter where he works because I’ll still be on an island, and you know, oceans. That big of a number does sound daunting and impressive though.
Now I didn’t write this post to only complain about my life (which in all reality I shouldn’t because things are going pretty well at the moment). I wanted to talk about the importance of words, especially related to my upcoming situation. Communication is one of the most important things when it comes to relationships, and our level of communicative intelligence is what makes us human to begin with. It’s the way we interact, share ideas, thoughts, feelings, discoveries, everything. And when the man you love (along with your family and friends) is an ocean away, words are really all you have. That’s why choosing them is so important. In a text, letter, email, phone call and even skype, human communication is almost limited to only words, and trust me, that’s when things get tricky.
When you don’t have a shared smile, a gentle touch, or an instantaneous reaction, things you take for granted in every day interactions can get just plain messy. Trust me, I know, my fiancé and I have been apart to some extent every summer that we have been together, with two of those summer being countries apart. A sarcastic comment can be taken wrong, jokes might not land, and when all you want is to be held you have a screen waiting for a response. Choosing words when they are all you have can be challenging, and while it may suck, it teaches you a lot. You learn that the thought put into the word is more important than the number of words. You know how to backtrack and re-explain things so they can be better understood out of context. You learn to interpret the meanings of things you might not completely understand, and even more, you learn to trust that your partner has the best intent behind those words. None of this was learned over night, however, and I’m sure there will still be days when I get irrationally offended by something that was meant to be sweet (I’m only human).
Sometimes, with the most important people, you can even run out of words. When all you do is talk, you can run out of things to talk about. This can be extremely frightening, and you may think to yourself this is one of the people I love most and we can’t even find anything to talk about?! We’re doomed! The connection is gone! PANIC! … At least, that thought process has gone through my mind more than a couple of times. And even though I still freak out about silence, I do not believe I am doomed, my fiancé and I still have that goofy connection, and I try to repress the urge to panic. Just like relationships become comfortable, and you can sit with your best friends doing nothing and saying nothing, those moments can happen in the context of words to. And that’s when you start typing out noises to keep the conversation going :).
The way in which we communicate with others is something that I think is way undervalued. Communication sets the tone for the entire relationship, and an ill chosen phrase or even word can send it in a direction that was not intended. Even in person, issues stemming from miscommunication may happen, hopefully leading towards clarifying communication instead of just frustration. I will be the first to admit that I run my mouth without thinking some most of the time, just ask basically anyone who knows me. I feel that by consciously working on it over the past, however, I have saved myself from some pretty irreversible slip ups. I’m not saying that we should censor ourselves in our daily lives, because that would just be plain stupid. What I am trying to articulate (if not long windedly) is that we should communicate with intent. What you say to the world is the only thing way the world knows what’s going on inside that noggin of yours, so you may want to try to do it right the first time, or the second, but more importantly the last time.